Several examples of this include slamming, cramming, and smishing. These terms may sound foreign to you, but they describe types of telecommunication attacks.
- Slamming refers to switching a user’s long-distance phone carrier without his/her knowledge.
- Cramming is somewhat similar but relates to unauthorized phone charges. Sometimes these charges can be quite small and seem incidental, yet multiplied by hundreds of users, can make a criminal millions. One common method to carry out a cramming attack is by smishing.
- Smishing attacks occur when someone sends you a fake SMS message. These messages may appear to have come from a bank or may inform you that you’ve won a free iPod if you just send a text message to a linked phone number. Instead of getting the iPod, what you may receive is a new, monthly charge to your phone bill. These attacks are basic examples of toll fraud, the attacker signs you up for a premium service that sends charges billed to the actual user’s phone bill.
While it seems fairly simple to locate and stop these kinds of attacks, hackers use sophisticated techniques to hide their identities, making it difficult to locate them. From a user standpoint, one of the best things you can do is practice the same caution with text messages that you do with e-mails. Avoid opening or clicking on text messages if you don’t know the sender or if you know you didn’t register for SMS messages from a certain company. Be sure to look over your phone bill very closely to check for unknown charges, especially if you notice an increase in suspicious text messages from the same source. Finally, never submit your cell phone number online to third party contests or giveaways without reading the fine print. Your number can be sold just as easily as your email address.